So it’s Monday evening and you are tired after a long day at work, but you just signed up for that cool Yoga class, so you drag yourself there. But after the warm-up and a few simple poses, the teacher asks everyone to do a handstand, a headstand or who knows what kind of crazy arm balance pose.
Everyone seems to go for it, so you try it as well. But you end up falling, diving into your nose or even injuring yourself. You were never good at arm balances, but you see everyone doing them on social media, claiming that they feel so amazing afterwards. But those complicated poses you see on Instagram are the results of years of practice and a life long journey of yoga. There are many factors involved in what poses someone can or cannot do, and they include age, occupation, body type, joints, range of motions, genetic tissue composition and the acquired postural habits.
And the truth is that head standing or arm balances don’t matter. None of the fancy looking postures are that important, and not a single posture will make a huge difference in your life or bring you closer to enlightenment. What’s more important is to do the poses suited for your level and experience, to stick to yoga on the long term and to gradually get better at it.
The History of Yoga
While yoga has been around for thousands of years, the truth is that these fancy poses are relatively new. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a popular text from the second century does not mention any postures at all, except for seated meditation. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, a book from the 14th century only includes 15 poses, which are quite basic.
The first texts with more complex yoga poses only appeared in the 1800s and become more popular in the mid-1900s. So they are new practices that were definitely not performed by our ancestors and the inventers of yoga. There are now hundreds of postures and new ones are invented regularly. Does this mean that you need to learn and master ALL the postures in order to reap the benefits of yoga? Definitely not!
What Should You Do Instead?
If you really want to do those fancy yoga poses, you simply need to be patient and to practice them a lot. Anyone can develop certain skills with the right training and persistence. But if you are a regular person that does yoga once or twice a week, then it’s more important to develop skills and mobility that can help you in the day to day life.
A responsive body with good reflexes and a good balance will help you to walk and to run better, to have a quicker response when slipping on ice or to avoid certain dangers and injuries. Having mobility will allow you to easily perform cleaning or gardening tasks and keep up with your children when playing with them. And the great part is that you only need a few yoga and Pilates postures in order to break free from pain and mobility limitations, and to live a better life.
Because of certain health issues and severe limitations, some people may not do any yoga poses at all. But they still can benefit from the meditation and the yoga philosophies & practices that make you calmer and more emotionally balanced. They can also make you love yourself more and love others as well, and least but not last they can help you discover your true self and accept who you are.
Many people have reached a state of wellbeing without ever being able to stand on their head or on their hands. Some have even become successful yoga teachers without being able to perform ALL of the crazy acrobatic yoga techniques.
Not being able to perform certain poses discourages a lot of people and they quit yoga altogether. But this should not happen. You should go there because it makes you feel better and you like it. You should not feel forced to do yoga just because it’s cool and looks good on social media. The yoga mat should become your best friend and you should really look forward to using it. Even if you don’t always get to the classes, you can take a few minutes at home (or even at the office), and just seat in silence, reflect and meditate. This can be more beneficial than going to a yoga class on a Monday evening and performing a head stand.
If it seems like fun and you feel like doing those poses, sure, go for it! But if it doesn’t feel right and only makes you feel uncomfortable and inadequate, just forget about it and focus on the poses that you CAN do. Sticking to yoga and Pilates on the long term is much more important than one single fancy pose.
In case you need a healthy diet approach, mindfulness coaching or Yoga & Pilates classes, the Abbysan Center is here to help. Contact us today!